"New Regent Street ? a unique Eye-Catcher" Top 5 Page for this destination Christchurch Things to Do Tip by Kakapo2
Christchurch Things to Do: 439 reviews and 761 photos
I remember the times when cars were driving through New Regent Street. This was on my first visit in 1991. After that a lot has changed. In 1994 the street was converted into a pedestrian mall, and the tramway tracks were uncovered, and in 1995 the historic tramway was revived and runs through the city centre since then, and, of course, through New Regent Street as well. And really, this is a perfect picture, as New Regent Street is a colourful and unique street, a bit doll-house style. You feel a bit like in a fairy-tale, at least you take a step back into the past there.
The name of the architectural style of the two-storey buildings is, of course, not doll-house but Spanish Mission Style. And this has been maintained in perfect condition, the facades painted in pastel green, blue and yellow. Perhaps it is New Zealand’s most beautiful street. But for sure, it is the only place where a whole street has been preserved in this style. Absolutely eye-catching.
Along the street you find cafés, restaurants, and shops for jewellery, clothes, gifts of all kinds, and – my favourite one, of course – the Inkwell Gift Shop with the most wonderful bears you can imagine. Petersens Jewellers have been based in their shop since 1939 – a record of its own.
The design was the work of local architect H. Francis Willis. He also designed the Repertory Theatre in Kilmore Street, the Edmonds Clock tower and telephone cabinet on Oxford Terrace. The street was opened in April 1931, so in 2007 the 75th birthday was celebrated. It is located on the site of the former Colosseum Building, a very large hall built in 1888, which was a popular venue for large gatherings from political speeches to circuses and a skating rink, and later used by a taxi company.
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